One way to create joy for the holiday season is by helping less fortunate families. Nearly every region has struggling families that greatly appreciate support in the form of Christmas gifts or holiday meal foods, and your local social service and community organizations already have specific recipients in mind. Check with various assistance programs in your area to find out if there are any specific needy families to sponsor with Christmas assistance.
Church, spiritual and community organizations
If you attend a church or any other organization that practices religion or spirituality, there's a chance this community already has a program that benefits low-income families or single moms during the holiday season. For instance, some churches have an annual Christmas program that collects holiday gifts to donate to specific local families in need. Other religious and social organizations may work off of a wishlist submitted by those in need. The wishes for specific Christmas toys or other goods are written on paper ornaments hung on the church Christmas tree, and you help by providing the item mentioned on the paper ornament.
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Other churches may offer Christmas help to specific families by allowing congregants to sponsor a low-income family or a single mom or dad that needs assistance making ends meet for the holidays. In this case, the needy families might be congregants, or they may have been found through the church partnering with another social service organization in the same region. This type of sponsorship generally works out well because you won't have to find the recipient family on your own.
Local Salvation Army programs
The Salvation Army nonprofit offers numerous adopt-a-family programs across the country; simply call your local Salvation Army to find out if the program exists locally. Families in need for any reason apply to the program ahead of the Christmas season, and offering to sponsor one pairs you with them. In this type of sponsorship, you may be buying groceries for a Christmas dinner or needed clothing items for various sponsored family members.
The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program is another way to find families to sponsor; in this case, the sponsor purchases new toys and clothing from a child's wishlist so the sponsored family has gifts to put around the Christmas tree for Christmas morning. This program is similar to those run by many religious organizations.
Check local Buy Nothing groups
Many communities have their own Buy Nothing groups as part of the Buy Nothing Project, and these groups are incredibly localized so that those within your group are generally within a few minutes' drive from your home. While there's a Buy Nothing app, the local Facebook versions of the group are often incredibly active. Peruse your local group or reach out to the moderator to learn of needy families that need free Christmas gifts for their kiddos or other forms of help for the holiday season. Those in need may be low-income families or families that have been through other recent medical or household emergencies.
In a Buy Nothing group, helping a family may mean dropping the items off on the recipient's front porch. Gifts of service, such as offering rides to the grocery store or to medical appointments, may also be welcome, depending upon the family's needs.